Because balance issues are from so many varied causes and affect us in so many different ways, the plight of sufferers has remained hidden and its consequences underestimated by most people, unless they have had first hand experience. So unlike single very powerful health issues – such as heart disease, specific cancers and diabetes, our conditions have had little single strong focus.The benefit of a single strong focus is that this can raise awareness, prompt better health care provision and even fund research into potential cures and better control of symptoms.
One leader in this field is the charity is VEDA https://vestibular.org/ Promoting awareness and information for all balance conditions and offering support for anyone who suffers with a serious balance disorder.Although based in the USA, their online resources. membership and forums are available to Brits and all nations. We actively support this charity, and love there generous all inclusive attitude to all things Dizzy. Another leader in this area and a lot closer to home is the Ménière’s Society https://www.Ménière’s.org.uk/ . For over thirty years the charity has been seeking to promote all aspects of Ménière’s and serious balance disorders, and through moneys raised now provides the best source of online material concerning balance disorders and every year funds very important medical research in this area (and is the only charity to do this in the UK). We also support this charity, and believe its role is invaluable in improving the quality of life for balance disorder sufferers nationwide.
As a local support group, we are focused upon help and activity at a very local community level. So, we never seek to do the work undertaken by the national charity, but we can of course help to promote the charity and its great work throughout our own membership and our local community. A Lovely example of our local flavour is where we provide “Balance Buddies” , where either physically or remotely (phone/email) our members can connect and hook up with their own “buddy” who can help them with issues affecting their lives or simply be someone to confide in and share with the current challenges of their life. Members get to see a list of Balance Buddy Volunteers including each persons relevant experience (they have a balance condition, may be a professional related to Balance etc) and they can reach out to find their ideal Buddy.
We believe that International and national charities and all local support groups can work together to help to build a bigger national voice and a more chance for improvement in supply of NHS healthcare at a local level. Whilst all NHS resources are under intense pressure, sadly it is inevitable that the less well known and publicised health issues – such as balance disorders – are likely to suffer even more disproportionately large cuts in resources. Currently via free NHS treatment one can wait months and years to be adequately diagnosed and treated, for some people this delay is life changing and inflicts great trauma upon their lives and those of their loved ones. We believe any publicity around the needs of serious balance disorder suffers has to help keep this issue in the public eye and this help with future decisions on relevant healthcare resources. If we won’t argue for our own health needs, who will?
Other than our passion to help this general cause, we have no politics, no religion, no race, no age discrimination or bias. Balance conditions do not show any discrimination in their suffers, so neither are we selective in who we help and who is welcome to be part of our group.
Balance Conditions, Aren’t they just for the old ?
No, this is a myth. In the UK, one in three of us (33%) will experience some form of balance problems, with one in ten of us (10%) having such serious balance issues that it significantly affects our ability to live normal lives for long periods or for life long. Serious life changing disorders can come at any age, for example there are many active supporters of the Ménière’s society who are in their twenties and dealing with serious health challenges of this condition.
Why does this myth exist, well partly because those with balance issues, unless actually seen falling over, are effectively invisible to the rest of us. Even worse if you saw someone in the street or in a shopping mall wobbling and unsteady on their feet, you may think they are under the influence of drink or drugs – you would not automatically think that you are witnessing a symptom of an illness.
Serious Balance conditions and Anxiety
Also, there is the “embarrassment” or “fear” factor on the part of the sufferer. Where it is normal and natural for those with any health issue to be worried about looking “weak” , “less perfect” , “inferior” or just “ill” to their peers. This is especially true in the work place, where in some work cultures promotion or even employment can be lost if anyone displays any weakness in any respect.
The result is even secrecy or downplaying of the illness and its effects, and bottling up all of the fear , anxiety and depression that can come with any illness or disability. Do not underestimate the further harm this can cause to many people, and in our experience secrecy and self containment is not the best way to deal with any situation. Due to the different stages of our lives as we age, it tends only to be the older ages that will freely discuss their balance issues, with younger groups feeling a pressure not to appear “diminished” in any way – which sometimes then contradicts the normal trend for younger generations to be more open about health subjects and anxiety – It is a complex world.
So, with invisible symptoms, and a tendency not to talk about balance problems the younger you are, is it any wonder that society keeps alive this myth that balance problems are just for the elderly. Hopefully one of the good things that will come from our support group work, is that we will be able to help correct this view and encourage all, at whatever age to talk about their issues with their family friends, work colleagues and employers. Just to have achieved this will be a great thing.
Now is the time to both fight for a louder and stronger voice for balance disorders, and also at the same time develop better and more effective ways to help actual sufferers within our community, ending loneliness, depression and isolation for many. Just contact us today and take that first step to helping others – Click on This Link.